Sharing information is fast and simple (perhaps too easy) and for many, it really is quite tempting to over-share, however, while doing so you may also be giving up loads of personal information without even realizing it. Case in point, Facebook.
Facebook is by far, the most popular social network out there where people are giving up their personal information or their friends are giving it up. There’s a number of things that could be happening with your posts or posts about you on Facebook that may be giving up more information than you really are comfortable with.
The following are 5 things you can do to check on your Facebook security and privacy:
Profile Information – Much information on your personal profile is available to the public. Before filling in your profile with all your life story you need to ask yourself, do I really have to share my life history and be an open book? Your personal friends know your name, know what city you live in and likely know much more about you. Do you really need to share your birthday, hometown, high school, college and other data with everyone?
- Cover Photo – Before you pimp out your profile you should keep in mind that your cover photo is public and thus everyone who visits your profile page can see it. Be careful what you use as a profile photo and consider using an image or catchy graphic rather than a personal photo that may also share personal information. Reconsider using cover photos that have your photo, family members, and location aiding information like your home.
- Tagging – Be sure to investigate your security settings and determine if you really want to allow others to tag you in posts and in particular, photos. Friends tagging other friends may not be a huge deal, however, when you are tagged in a photo on a business page your identity and a link to your profile page is being shared with everyone who visits the business’ page and browses the photo. Facebook privacy settings allow you to disable people from tagging you. Being tagged on a friends page means their friends are all provided with your name and a link to you while being tagged on a business page makes your information open to the general public.
- Checking in – You may want to share your favorite places with your network, however, when you check-in constantly from the places you visit the most it becomes relatively simple for people viewing your timeline to piece together a puzzle to become aware your favorite stops, identify your schedule and habits (for example, visiting the gym every Tuesday and Thursday at dinner time) and it is likely easy to determine your home neighborhood as most people tend to gravitate to businesses close to their home. Note, if you must share your check-in, try checking in after you leave the place so you aren’t giving up your exact location at a specific time. Repeat checkins from the same place or numerous local venues paints a very clear picture of your home neighborhood and identifies specific times when you are away from home and at a favorite business.
- Sharing settings – You may think that you are only sharing timeline posts and updates with your close network, however, are you really sure what your sharing settings are locked down as? Facebook seems to have a habit of flipping and losing your sharing preferences, and many posts may be shared with “public” and you don’t realize it. You are wise to periodically check your privacy settings are lock down the audience of your posts, doing this will reset all your past posts and update the audience to your current preference. Decide if you really want to share posts with the public (ie. people you don’t know), with friends only, or with close fiends. If you have many connections it is wise to flag your connections as friends, close friends, or acquaintances.
- Finally, be sure to regularly view your profile page while not logged in so you can see how your profile and information appears to the public and people who you don’t know. You can also use the View As option to view your page as others will see it
What do you do to keep your timeline locked down?
For more on this topic, in particular regarding location privacy settings be sure to read Unlocking your Location Data History on Social Media